Solution to Internet Concerns – Parental Supervision

Although there are risks associated with using the Internet, these technology-induced risks can be mitigated.  Like any other tool, the Internet can be used for good or for bad.  To ensure your children are using the Internet in a manner that is positive and safe, the simple answer is parental supervision.  Parents need to know what their children are doing online.  Children should never be online unsupervised.  To prevent the risks associated with Internet use, parents need to teach children about Internet concerns.  Parents need to establish rules about using technology and the Internet, and then parents need to enforce these rules.

Teach Children about Internet Concerns

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.  Children need to know what type of content/activities you would consider inappropriate.  They should also know what to do if they come across anything inappropriate.  Children should be taught to click away from any sites that are bad and immediately let the parent know what has happened.  Children also need to be taught never to give out personal information online like their name, phone number, or address.

Establish Internet Safeguards in the Home

The lack of a plan is a plan to fail.  And parents cannot afford to fail at keeping their children safe while using the Internet.  Parents need to determine technology and Internet use rules in the home.  There are many serous risks connected to unsupervised Internet use.  The best way to make sure that children are not getting into trouble online is actively monitor all Internet use.  Some software may be beneficial to log activities on a certain computer and to filter/block undesirable sites.  However, these software solutions are almost never 100% effective and should be coupled with the following recommended Internet use safeguards.

  1. No Internet in the bedroom.  It is highly recommended that children use Internet devices in family areas, such as the living room or rec room.  Allowing a child to have Internet devices, such as computer, iPod touch, or even a cell phone in the bedroom is potentially disastrous.  Make this a clear rule of the home, beginning when children are young.  It is not enough just to turn off wifi as children may be able to use an open Internet connection in the neighbourhood or use a cell phone connection.
  2. No computer time when parents aren’t home. Students aged eleven and up may be left alone at home.  It is extremely unwise to allow students Internet access when home alone.  This rule can be enforced in several different ways.  The best way is to have a password on the computer that only the parent knows.
  3. No computer after _________. Some parents may decide that a child can use the computer or other Internet devices for only a certain limited amount of time each day – for example, one hour.  Other parents have a certain time a day after which students cannot use the computer – for example, after supper or after 9:00pm, whatever time frame suits your family and the age of your children.
  4. Poor choices regarding the Internet result in loss of privileges. If a child visits/tries to visit an inappropriate site, the child should have his/her computer/Internet privileges revoked for a certain time period.  A subsequent infraction should result in a longer suspension.

Enforce Internet Safeguards and Internet Use Rules

It is pointless to have rules and then not enforce them.  The safeguards you create for your children need to be enforced diligently and consistently.  All adults in the home have to agree to insist upon the same standards.  If exceptions are granted, in no time at all, things may spin out of control.

  1. Make sure children know the Internet/technology use rules of the home.
  2. Supervise Internet activity.
  3. Make sure loss of privileges ALWAYS occurs for disregard of family rules.

It is better not to have Internet or computers than to let children get into serious trouble online.  By enforcing Internet safeguards, you are protecting your children.

Conclusion

Some parents maintain that they can trust their children so not Internet rules are necessary in their home.  My question is this:  Would you trust your child with a sexual predator?  It is not a matter of trust.  It is a matter of protection.  Parents need to protect their children by supervising Internet use.

© Celesta Thiessen

 
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